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1 SAFRAN-Herakles 2 LPMC - Laboratoire de physique de la matière condensée

Abstract : Dense suspensions display complex flow properties, intermediate between solid and liquid. When sheared, a suspension self-organizes and forms particle clusters that are likely to percolate, possibly leading to significant changes in the overall behavior. Some theoretical conjectures on percolation in suspensions were proposed by De Gennes some 35 years ago. Although still used, they have not received any validations so far. In this paper, we use three-dimensional detailed numerical simulations to understand the formation of percolation clusters and assess De Gennes conjectures. We found that sheared non-colloidal suspensions do show percolation clusters occurring at a critical volume fraction in the range 0.3∼0.4 depending on the system size. Percolation clusters are roughly linear, extremely transient, and involve a limited number of particles. We have computed critical exponents and found that clusters can be described reasonably well by standard isotropic percolation theory. The only disagreement with De Gennes concerns the role of percolation clusters on rheology which is found to be weak. Our results eventually validate De Gennes conjectures and demonstrate the relevance of percolation concepts in suspension physics.

Author: Stany Gallier - Elisabeth Lemaire - Francois Peters - Laurent Lobry -



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